This post is in regards to the canton fair (apparel portion) which ran from October 31st – November 4th, 2010 in Guangzhou, China.

As usual it was difficult to find a last-minute hotel and airfare to Guangzhou during the fair, so it was a costly trip ($1,000 USD for air and hotel from Shanghai) for one person and two nights.  I arrived into Guangzhou on the afternoon of the 1st and I was immediately thrown into the chaos of Guangzhou after leaving the airport.  There was no order with the taxi line at the airport, and when you finally got a taxi it was all about the negotiation of the cost of the ride to your destination.  No meter was in effect, it was all about who was going to pay the highest price or who could I charge the highest price too.  Finally after 15 minutes of negotiation I got a taxi that agreed to charge me by the meter.

Fair Grounds – One building of many

I spent two days at the fair, November 2nd and 3rd.  The first day I took the pre-arranged 8:30am hotel bus to the fair which made for an enjoyable ride.  Upon arrival at the fair, I proceeded through a fenced area and made my way to the registration area.  Thankfully I had brought my badge from a previous Canton fair which made registration swift.  Last year I did not bring my badge and had to wait in a long line and then once at the counter I had t show proof that I had been invited to the Canton fair to gain entrance.  Since I did not bring my badge I also had to pay for the re-issuing of my badge.  This year I made sure I brought my old badge.

Upon entering the fair there was a swarm of people in the main hallways.

Main aisle way, connecting buildings and halls

I arrived at the fair before 9:00am prior to the fair opening so I waited patiently in line for the area I wanted to visit to open.  Once it opened everyone rushed in but most booths were still closed.

9:00am, fair and hall opening

Once the doors opened and the people dispersed the aisle ways for apparel manufacturers and suppliers was brisk.

The apparel aisle way at noon

Many aisle ways had Yellow tape and bumps on the floor which highlighted the large cabling that ran underneath the carpet.  This made the show look cheap and not so professional.  The cable was an inconvenience to many who walk the aisle ways.

Aisle way troubles

This year I experienced the same issue I experienced at the previous (2009) Canton fair.  The Canton fair used to be one of the leading fairs for sourcing of garment manufacturers and suppliers of fabrics of trims.  But now it is a brand fair, which highlights Chinese brands looking to expand domestically and internationally.

Floor stickers on most aisle ways

I also noticed that atleast six suppliers I meet with were not the same company as the name advertised on their booth.  The company in the booths expressed to me that they had purchased the booth from the vendor (exhibited on the booth) to exhibit at the fair.

Another major issue as the day got closer to a close many people (exhibitors) were looking for an afternoon nap, some took up hiding behind their product, and others went to chairs away from their booth.

Apparel area – afternoon nap (2:45pm)

Accessories area – afternoon nap (1:50pm)

In conclusion I find the canton fair is no longer a leading sourcing fair for apparel makers, fabric and trim suppliers.  It was disappointing to walk up and down many isles to find limited resources.  If you are looking for Chinese brands this maybe a fair for you to attend.

Happy and successful sourcing from Guangzhou, China